Lara Speer

Lara Speer designs with purpose through a Bachelor of Design Innovation.

Black and white portrait photo of Lara Speer

Lara Speer developed a creative purpose through the Bachelor of Design Innovation at Te Wāhanga Waihanga-Hoahoa—Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation. Graduating this coming December, Lara is an accomplished creative working across digital and physical mediums.

“I have always been making things, cutting things up, painting on any surface I could find whilst also learning about the people and world around me. I recognised that there is a real need for creatives in this world and I am one of them,” Lara reflects.

Lara understood her design narrative by majoring in Communications and minoring in Social Innovation.

“I discovered that, as a designer, the most important thing I can do is take my background, knowledge, skills, and identity and use them to listen to and work with others to communicate the change they want to see. Through the Social Innovation minor, I learned about environmental and societal sustainability, which ensured I am designing thoughtfully and with purpose.”

A distinctive creative practice emerged through a rediscovery of her personal narrative.

“I always thought my life story wasn’t remarkable or that I had a particular art style—I was always far more interested in worlds different from my own”, she acknowledges. “But throughout my studies, I discovered that much of my mahi centres around my experiences as a half Kiwi, half German woman growing up in Aotearoa and the various cultural and environmental topics that affect me and my environment.”

Lara’s university experience culminated in her capstone graphic journalism project. It provided her with a trimester to refine her creative process into a workpiece that showcased her unique style and trajectory as a professional designer. The completed workpiece is a comic ‘Ebbs and Flows’ which discusses complex topics affecting the world around her from a personal perspective.

“I communicate big ideas and views of the world through my illustrations, animations, and visual storytelling in a simple, accessible and engaging way”, Lara says.

During her studies, Lara gained professional experience as a Social Media and Content Assistant at the Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation.

“This role gave me opportunities to design content for academic events and accomplishments in a professional environment”.

She also worked alongside lecturers, design organisations, and mentors to develop her knowledge about the creative process and the professional industry.

With the graduation ceremony for the Bachelor of Design Innovation this coming December, Lara is introspective on her university experience.

“I always knew that I loved to make, but I never really thought about why I was making it. But through my programme, I discovered that design is my career and designers need to ask ourselves ‘why are we making this in the first place?’”

Continuing to design with a purpose is the next step for Lara.

“In the future, I would like to collaborate with people who have something important to say and be the visual voice to communicate their ideas to a wide variety of people. As visual language is universal, it can play an important role in connecting people who work in all kinds of disciplines worldwide.”